Sunday, November 7, 2010

Agile Tour Philadelphia 2010

This year, Sebastian Hermida, Bonnie Aumann, David Bulkin, Ravindar Gujral and I tried out a new conference format--and it worked out splendidly (photo album). Essentially, we wanted this to be a conference for local practitioners, by local practitioners. We sought to encourage networking and group discussions, so we divided up our 4-hour conference into a keynote by Jon Kern followed by 4 x 45 minute-long sessions and a little time for breaks. Each of the organizers invited a friend to do a talk, and we got a great lineup including:

  • Bonnie Aumann (The Flow Game)
  • Aman King and Prashant Srivastava (Agile Buzzwords in Action)
  • Sebastian Hermida (9 simple rules for code design)
  • Prem Chandrasekaran (Automated Functional Testing: Getting it Right)
  • Burkhard Duemler (An Incremental Move to Continuous Integration)
  • Ravindar Gujral (You Get What You Measure)
  • Audrey Troutt (How Agile is like Yoga: this $h!t is really hard but it feels good)
  • Daryl Richter (Don't Replace That Old Application, Re-upholster It!)
  • Andre Dhondt (Working with Difficult Customers)
  • Brian Donahue (Software Craftmanship: Building a Solid Foundation)
  • Darian Rashid (Personality Types)

At the beginning of each session, all 70 or so attendees met in the middle of one large conference room, and speakers each had a chance to do a 60-second lightning talk to catch the interest of attendees, and to announce where they'd be doing their talk. Within ten minutes everyone had shuffled over to their chosen sessions, which lasted 25 minutes before a 10-minute break and then another round of lightning talks. This format gave people a lot of time to meet one another and explore topics of their own interest--which kept energy high and made it really fun. As an organizer I felt responsible for making things flow--so I couldn't fully participate in any of the sessions, but I did act like a butterfly and go listen in on at least a couple minutes of every talk I could.

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